Thursday, September 10, 2009

November 25, 1968

Gotta take a mulligan on this one. No excuses. I had a whole 'nother subject in mind for after I hurtled through the obligatory Beatles bit. Instead, just look at this mess. And no, fourteen straight mulligans do not preclude the possibility of an eventual well-struck ball.

Yep, lots of Fab Four ink lately. The two primary angles seemed to be 1) commentary on the sonic upgrades and 2) the passing of the CD era. Some of the articles had a valedictory quality. Here is a good example.

Beatles Day at Chez Fever was unusual. There I was, loading an actual compact disc into a player and then, after a bit of furniture-to-speakers alignment, pressing 'play.' Whereupon tracks proceeded sequentially and I paid real attention. It was all quite novel.

The kickoff choice was the White Album. I'll whittle the observations down to one: Ringo is the big winner in the remastering derby. His drums sound like drums, and we are reminded that he was pretty good at bashing on 'em.

The White Album had its US release on November 25, 1968. That was a red-letter day in this reporter's life. Two distinct memories:

The first is 4th-period freshman Spanish class. The teacher was of a stereotype: in her late 20s, she wore short skirts and taught while perched on top of her desk. I was not aware such a category of teacher existed outside our school until I was introduced to Miss Dolores Panatella in the National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody.

That day, two seniors (smart guys who were taking the class as an elective) spent their lunch hour at the K-Mart across the field from our high school, and returned armed with the brand-new White Album. At the time I did not own a current-release pop album (save for a two-year-old Paul Revere & the Raiders record and a whole lot of Herb Alpert) and didn't even like The Beatles all that much.

The world changed that Monday afternoon. Our instructor cut short her normal transmission, put Side 1 on the classroom record player, and played it straight through. As class ended she flipped the record over to Side 4, and as we filed out I was left with the indelible memory of Miss Suzanne Read dancing alone to 'Revolution 1.'

The sight so moved me that by the end of the day I had The White Album in my possession. Which led to memory two:

At the time, there was no device in our house which could both play and amplify stereo records. I had a kiddie portable on which to play my growing collection of 45s (for instance, I had 'Hey Jude' and couldn't fathom why it hadn't been included on the album), but standard (mono) needles were death on delicate stereo grooves, so that was a no-go. In the living room was an old tube console which, in its prime, had put plenty of miles on show soundtracks and Jackie Gleason LPs, but was then kaput with a blown amplifier.

So, there was only one thing for it: I put disc one of the White Album on the console's changer and, after the robotic mechanisms had done their respective duties, let it play without amplification. I put my right ear up as close as I could to where the stylus met the groove, and I imagined...

1 comment:

Mama E Dub said...

Best. White Album. Story. Ever.

So far.

Nice one, Fev.